Name: Danny Quesada Arias
Congregation: LowCountry Community Church
Involved for: A few months
Activity in church: A senior at Bluffton High School, Danny, 17, sings, and plays guitar and piano with the church's worship team.
Dreams accomplished. Since I was little, I think my biggest dream was always to sing and to lead people to God with the talent he gave me. So I think if I sing secular music, music that is not Christian, I kind of really feel unhappy and empty. When I sing Christian music, I feel like I'm alive in Him, and I feel really full with his presence. And that's what I love. I just love having my guitar and just feeling, knowing he is very close to me and I can lead people to know what a wonderful God we have.
Connecting with Christ. I come from a pastoral family. My dad is a pastor. I was born in Costa Rica. ... I've always known of God, and I grew up going to Sunday school, going to church, but I never really had that deep relationship with him. ... When I was 14, my mom was diagnosed with stage-five cancer. It was really rough on me, and the doctor said it was a year with chemo and six months without chemo. So during that time, that's when I got really close to God because I didn't want to lose her. So I prayed, and I started seeking him and started seeing a lot of miracles happening. Unfortunately, six months passed by, and my mom passed away. It was really rough on me at first. Actually, the night she passed away, I turned to God and I'm like, "God, I don't want to have anything to do with you. I'm done." When I said that, his presence came in the room, and I felt like someone was hugging me. At that moment, I really felt his love and His mercy. From that day on, I've been in love with Jesus. ... God gave me the strength, and I still thank him for that.
Trusting God. Sometimes we can't really understand his will. What I really saw in going through this moment with my mom, it was like when (Jesus) took the disciples on the ship and he was like, "Guys, we're going to get to the other side." And the disciples were like, "OK, let's go." So they went on the ship and Jesus fell asleep, and the storm started to rise. They started to doubt, and they were like, "Oh, my God. We're going to crash. We're going to drown." They woke him up ... the storm stopped, and all the disciples were shocked at what happened. ... When I was going through that rough time, that always kept me going. I always remember there's always another side, and we are going to get to that side.
Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.